Friday, February 27, 2009

Mexico looks an awful lot like Afghanistan

I'll do my best to keep this relatively short, but you never know how these things end up once the writing begins.

Stories about Mexican drug violence have been popping up in headlines with increasing regularity. Many of the headlines read "Cartel violence spills across border" or "Mexico's drug wars on American soil".

Basically, since 9/11, America has been cracking down on its porous border with Mexico. Simultaneously (since 2006), the truly ballsy Mexican president, Felipe Calderon declared war on the despicable narco-terrorists that run his deteriorating nation. Think of it this way...

Go outside and turn your garden hose on full blast (but not in California on account of the looming drought). You should be able to just point that thing anywhere and have the water go where you want it.

The next part of the experiment requires you to put your palm directly over the water stream and hold it tight up against the nozzle.

It goes everywhere. It hits the fence, it soaks your face, it wets the side of the house--- everything.

That's exactly what's happening with the increased pressure on the terrorists south of the border. Their previously free flowing path to lucrative American drug markets is harder to get to. A massive palm has pressed up against their drug nozzle, and the violence is flying all over the place.

You can take the unproductive stance of blaming American drug users. That's fine. You're a simpleton. Many people are... we're used to it.

People do drugs all over the world, and people are killed during the ever-evolving process that begins with cultivation and ends with a criminal selling a small plastic bag worth of smack or ice to another deeply flawed human being.

As in many dysfunctional relationships, co-dependents and enablers suffer through stuff together. Americans do drugs, but the government tries to keep them out. Mexico's narco-terrorists will do anything to flood America's streets with their life-shattering garbage. An uneasy relationship between the US and Mexico doesn't help matters either.

Mexico's ongoing humanitarian crisis and pathetic economy have affected the US for years. Mexico's second largest source of income is remittances from relatives working in the US (legally and otherwise, to the tune of $24 billion in 2007). This informal economy has been a thorn in the side of America for years and years... even as it helped American agriculture and other businesses.

The economic slowdown has helped temper the flow of illegal foreigners into America, but has also cut opportunities in half for an increasingly desperate Mexican population. I don't have figures on this, but I can't imagine that the slowdown will prevent desperate people from working for the drug militias; it might be their only option to put food on the table. Maybe they'd do things they'd never thought of... like muleing drugs across the Arizona border or helping to assassinate a judge or police chief.

Again... the hose is spraying all over the place.

This particular quote from the LA Times really puts things in perspective:

"The death toll from terrorist attacks in Mumbai (in December), although horrible, approaches the average weekly body count in Mexico's war."

People are getting their heads cut off. Officials are being assassinated Hollywood-style on a regular basis. Ciudad Juarez, just south of El Paso, is now burying people in mass graves because relatives are too afraid to claim bodies of their loved ones. Enemies are getting lit on fire and burned to death. Law abiding citizens are getting caught in the crossfire. American citizens who work in Mexico are being killed. Victims of narco-violence are being rushed to places like Laredo or El Paso because of our superior hospitals. Then, the people who failed to kill the first time follow over the border to finish the job in America.

The scale of violence is unfathomable really. It's believed that 6,000 people were killed in 2008 because of the cartels and governmental crackdown. Through this month, already 1,000 have been killed. 500 per month is a pretty serious clip.

Even with fully armed Mexican soldiers patrolling the streets, people are afraid to live. That, coupled with fewer Americans spending time and money in Mexico, allows for fewer Mexicans to live anyway.

The similarities between Afghanistan and Mexico though, are quite uncanny.

In Afghanistan tribal cavemen cut off peoples' heads to fund their terrorist militias through the international heroin poppy trade.

In Mexico, regional drug cartels cut off peoples' heads to secure footholds in the international drug market.

One is fascist. One is capitalist. Both are disgusting, and both must be stopped somehow. Unfortunately the Mexican government can't exactly begin shooting missiles into drug dens like the US does in Afghanistan. Can they?

God help us all if it comes to that.